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Found 12 results

  1. New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that the UK Pirate Bay blockade had no affect on legal consumption. Instead, visitors switched to alternative sites, Pirate Bay mirrors, or started using VPNs. However, the same research also reveals that blocking several major pirate sites at once does boost the use of paid legal services such as Netflix. The Pirate Bay is the most censored website on the Internet. Countries all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, with Russia being the latest addition. The idea behind these blockades is that they will help to decrease online piracy. However, a new study published by Carnegie Mellon University and Wellesley College researchers, suggests that blocking one site isn’t very effective. The researchers used data collected by an anonymous Internet consumer panel tracking company to compare the browsing habits of UK citizens, both before and after The Pirate Bay was blocked by major ISPs in 2012. After comparing the results to a control group and ruling out various other variables, the researchers conclude that there is no significant effect on legal consumption. Instead, Pirate Bay users chose to circumvent the measures by using VPNs, proxies, or switching to other pirate sites. “Our results show that blocking The Pirate Bay had little impact on consumption through legal channels — instead, consumers seemed to turn to other piracy sites, Pirate Bay ‘mirror’ sites, or Virtual Private Networks that allowed them to circumvent the block.†While the above findings support the many opponents of website blocking, it’s only part of the story. The researchers also analysed data after a subsequent blockade that covered more than a dozen large pirate sites at once. The results here were quite different, with a significant uptick in the number of visits (of ‘pirates’) to legal movie services such as Netflix. “…blocking 19 different major piracy sites caused users of those sites to increase their usage of paid legal streaming sites such as Netflix by 12% on average,†the researchers write. This effect was most pronounced for people who used the pirate sites most frequently. According to the researchers this makes sense as they were most affected by the blockade. “The lightest users of the blocked sites increased their clicks on paid streaming sites by 3.5% while the heaviest users of the blocked sites increased their paid streaming clicks by 23.6%, strengthening the causal interpretation of the results.†Overall the results show that blocking The Pirate Bay in isolation is futile. For website blockades to have a serious impact they should be directed at a broad selection of pirate sites, making it harder for people to find illegal alternatives. “Our results suggest that website blocking requires persistent blocking of a number of piracy sites in order to effectively migrate pirates to legal channels,†the researchers note. Perhaps just as importantly, the researchers add that copyright holders should also make legal content more attractive in order to convert pirates into paying customers. It has to be noted that the research was carried out as part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics (IDEA), which received a generous donation from the MPAA. However, the researchers suggest that their work is carried out independently. The results may not help efforts to demand isolated Pirate Bay blockades, which is common in most countries. However, they can be used as ammunition to demand wider website blockades, which is arguably even better from a copyright holder perspective. Effective? https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-block-doesnt-boost-sales-research-shows-150604/
  2. New research published by the African Governance and Development Institute shows that piracy increases literacy and the spread of knowledge. The researchers warn against the adoption of strict anti-piracy policies, but note that not all copyright protection is bad. In Western countries piracy is often seen as a leisure tool, granting people unauthorized access to the latest hits and Hollywood blockbusters. However, there are also parts of the world where piracy is frequently used as a means to gather and spread knowledge. In parts of Africa, for example, where legal access to educational books and software is often restricted or unavailable. Over the years we have seen various illustrations of the educational importance of piracy in developing countries. When the e-book portal Library.nu was shut down, for instance, we were contacted by a United Nations worker in Kenya, who voiced his disappointment. “I am very concerned about the recent injunction against library.nu. The site was particularly useful for people like me working in Nairobi, a city that has no more than four bookshops with nothing but bestsellers,†the UN worker informed TF at the time. In an effort to determine how piracy affects literacy and the spread of knowledge, the African Governance and Development Institute conducted an in-depth study comparing piracy and human development data from 11 African countries. The findings, presented in a paper titled “The Impact of Software Piracy on Inclusive Human Development: Evidence from Africa†show that “software piracy increases literacyâ€. “Adoption of tight IPRs regimes may negatively affect human development by diminishing the literacy rate and restricting diffusion of knowledge,†the authors write. Not all copyright protection measures have a negative effect though, and the researchers found that is negatively linked to the human development index. “Adherence to international IPRs protection treaties (laws) may not impede per capita economic prosperity and could improve life-expectancy,†the paper reads. The paper reports mostly correlational data so it’s not unthinkable that countries where human development is higher have less need to pirate, as there are better alternatives. The reverse effect could also apply to the literacy findings but according to the researchers this is unlikely. Researcher Simplice Asongu informed TF that his previous work showed a causal effect from piracy on scientific publications. “I tested the impact of piracy on scientific publications and established a positive causality flowing from the former to the latter,†Asongu says. From that research, it was concluded that African countries with less copyright restrictions on software will substantially boost the spread of knowledge through scientific and technical publications. The findings reported here are limited to the effect of software piracy, but it’s not hard to see how book piracy may also positively influence literacy and the spread of knowledge. In sum, the research suggests that piracy does have its positive sides, especially in terms of human development. Still, it seems unlikely that rightsholders will take that into account when lobbying for new policy changes. https://torrentfreak.com/research-piracy-increases-literacy-and-access-to-knowledge-150405/
  3. The parent company of luxury watch maker Cartier is trying to expand the grounds on which websites can be censored in the UK. In an action against the country's leading ISPs, Richemont International is seeking an injunction to have sites displaying pirated brand logos blocked at the ISP level. The UK is now one of the easiest countries in the world to obtain a website blocking injunction on copyright grounds. While much work had to be done initially, having websites filtered out by the leading ISPs is now a streamlined and largely closed-door practice. Child protection issues aside, up until now it has been copyright holders leading the charge for websites to be blacked out. Dozens of sites are affected, with the majority of the world’s leading file-sharing portals now inaccessible by regular means. If the parent company of luxury watchmaker Cartier has its way, soon a new and potentially more widespread wave of website blockades will begin. Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. owns several well-known luxury brands including Cartier and Mont Blanc. For some time it has been trying to pressure sites offering counterfeits into closing down, but without success. Mirroring the tactics being employed by the studios and recording labels, Richemont has essentially given up on that approach and has decided to take legal action ISPs instead. In March 2014, Richemont reportedly wrote to the country’s leading ISPs (Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Meda, EE, Telefonica (O2)) complaining that third party sites were engaged in illegal activity and were displaying pirated logos which infringe on Richemont trademarks. In May the ISPs responding by telling the company that it had not done enough to have the sites close down, such as contacting their webhosts to have service discontinued. The ISPs also complained that by blocking the websites there was a chance that legitimate trade could be affected. An unfair financial burden for the ISPs was also a probability, particularly given the number of likely copycat requests if the application was successful. While it appears the ISPs are putting up more of a fight in this case than they did with entertainment company blocking requests, those were actioned under copyright law where injunctions against service providers are catered for. UK trademark law has no such direct provision. The case, which is now being heard at the High Court, has attracted the attention of the Open Rights Group. ORG says it takes no view on the merits of the case, but has been given permission to intervene in order to raise awareness over the possibility that third party interests could be affected if blocking injunctions are granted. “As the court is being asked to extend the circumstances in which blocking orders are granted, it’s vital that the wider public interest is taken into account. We hope that our intervention will help ensure that future claimants cannot use blocking orders to restrict legitimate activity or free speech,†says ORG Legal Director Elizabeth Knight. ORG says its concern is that if Geneva-based Richemont are successful, further applications could be made which are contrary to public interest. These could include blocking sites that use logos to legitimately criticize or parody well known brands “Court blocking orders may also affect commercial third parties who have no involvement in any alleged infringement – for example law abiding businesses whose products appear on websites alongside those of companies involved in infringing activity,†the group says. It remains to be seen how smoothly the process pans out, but there could be interesting side effects. Entertainment industry companies and artists also own plenty of trademarks that are often displayed on ‘pirate’ websites. If the trademark route proves a simple one, that could end up being their chosen path for future blocking requests. Mr Justice Arnold has requested submissions on how third party rights could be affected if injunctions are granted. ORG will ensure he gets the message. source: torrentfreak
  4. A new study published by research firm KPMG reveals that only 16% of the most popular and critically acclaimed films are available via Netflix and other on-demand subscription services. The study, which reveals that availability through other platforms is excellent, is praised by the MPAA, but the big elephant in the room is conveniently ignored. There is little doubt that, in the United States, Netflix has become the standard for watching movies on the Internet. The subscription service is responsible for a third of all Internet traffic during peak hours, dwarfing that of online piracy and other legal video platforms. It’s safe to assume that Netflix is the best and most convenient alternative to piracy at this point. That is, if the service carries the movies people want to see. This appears to be a problem. Research firm KPMG has just released a new study that looks at the online availability of the 808 most popular and critically acclaimed films. The study was commissioned by NBC Universal and praised by the MPAA, presumably to dispel the argument that many people pirate because they don’t have the option to watch some films legally. “This first-of-its-kind report analyzed the availability of 808 different film titles over 34 major online video distribution services and found that 94 percent of the films were available on at least one service,†MPAA’s Chris Dodd commented on the study. The MPAA is right that most of the movies are available through online stores and rental services. However, the Hollywood group conveniently ignores the lacking availability on popular subscription platforms which services such as Netflix and Hulu use. This is not a minor oversight as the study finds that availability of top films on Netflix and other subscription services is very low. Although KPMG decided not to mention it in the executive summary of the report, the findings show that only 16% of the films are available through on-demand subscription services (SOVD). Availability of the top films http://torrentfreak.com/images/topfilmavail.png The above sheds a different light on the availability argument. Because, what good is it if 94 percent of the films are available online, but (at least) 84% are missing from the most-used movie service? After all, most people prefer to get their movies in one place as it’s not very convenient to use a few dozen services to get your movie fix. Of course this is not an excuse for people to go out and download films without permission, and we have to admit that a lot of progress has been made on the availability side in recent years. However, Hollywood can definitely learn from the music industry, where most of the popular content is available through subscription services. From the availability point of view there’s another issue worth pointing out. The most pirated titles are usually recent releases, and these are generally not available, not even through iTunes, Amazon or rental services. This is also illustrated in the KPMG report which shows that 100% of the top 2012 films are available online, compared to 77% of the 2013 releases. It’s probably safe to say that the majority of all pirated downloads are of films that are not yet legally available. In other words, there’s still plenty of improvement possible.
  5. New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that search engine results directly influence people's decision to pirate movies, or buy them legally. According to the researchers, their findings show how search engines may play a vital role in the fight against online piracy. In recent years Hollywood and the music industry have taken a rather aggressive approach against Google. The entertainment industry companies believe that the search engine isn’t doing enough to limit piracy, and have demanded more stringent measures. One of the suggestions often made is to remove or demote pirate sites in search results. A lower ranking would lead fewer people to pirate sources and promoting legal sources will have a similar effect. Google previously said it would lower the ranking of sites based on DMCA complaints, but thus far these changes have had a limited effect. A few weeks ago the company also began promoting legal options but this effort is in the testing phase for now. The question that remains is whether these changes would indeed decrease piracy. According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, they can. In a paper titled “Do Search Engines Influence Media Piracy?†the researchers ran two experiments where they let participants use a custom search engine to find a movie they wanted to watch. The respondents could pick from a list of 50 titles and received a $20 prepaid virtual Visa card as compensation. All search results were pulled from a popular search engine. In the control category the results were not manipulated, but in the “legal†and “infringing†conditions the first page only listed “legal†(e.g Amazon) and neutral (e.g IMDb) sites or “infringing†(e.g. Pirate Bay) and neutral sites respectively. While it’s quite a simple manipulation, and even though users could still find legal and pirated content in all conditions, the results are rather strong. Of all participants who saw the standard results, 80% chose to buy the movie via a legal option. This went up to 94% if the results were mostly legal, and dropped to 57% for the group who saw mostly infringing results on the first page. To Pirate or Not to Pirate TorrentFreak contacted Professor Rahul Telang who says that the findings suggest that Google and other search engines have a direct effect on people’s behavior, including the decision to pirate a movie. “Prominence of legal versus infringing links in the search results seem to play a vital role in users decision to consume legal versus pirated content. In particular, demoting infringing links leads to lower rate of consumption of pirated movie content in our sample,†he notes. In a second study the researchers carried out a slightly modified version of the experiment with college students, a group that tends to pirate more frequently. The second experiment also added two new conditions where only the first three results were altered, to see if “mild†manipulations would also have an effect. The findings show that college students indeed pirate more as only 62% went for the legal option in the control condition. This percentage went up gradually to 76% with a “mild legal†manipulation, and to 92% in the legal condition. For the infringing manipulations the percentages dropped to 48% and 39% respectively. To Pirate or Not to Pirate, take two According to Professor Telang their findings suggest that even small changes can have a significant impact and that altering search algorithms can be instrumental in the fight against online piracy. “The results suggest that the search engines may play an important role in fight against intellectual property theft,†Telang says. It has to be noted that Professor Telang and his colleagues received a generous donation from the MPAA for their research program. However, the researchers suggest that their work is carried out independently. As a word of caution the researchers point out that meddling with search results in the real world may be much more challenging. False positives could lead to significant social costs and should be avoided, for example. This and other caveats aside, the MPAA and RIAA will welcome the study as a new piece of research they can wave at Google and lawmakers. Whether that will help them to get what they want has yet to be seen though. http://torrentfreak.com/search-engines-can-diminish-online-piracy-research-finds-140916/
  6. New data shows that the Emmy's award ceremony resulted in a piracy surge for many of the nominated shows. For Emmy winner Breaking Bad the number of file-sharers increased more than 400% overnight due to the increased exposure, and most other nominated shows saw a spike in pirate interest too. People have many different motivations to pirate TV-shows and other media. Availability is a factor, for example, and price plays a role as well. Another important driver of piracy is exposure or promotion through traditional media. The latter is illustrated by new research from piracy monitoring firm CEG TEK, who found that the interest in pirated copies of Emmy nominated TV-shows surged after the award show aired on television. The company measured the BitTorrent swarms of 50 Emmy-nominated TV-shows and found a big spike in overall piracy rates. Breaking Bad, winner of the Emmy for best drama series and several individual awards, saw a 412% increase in peers after the award ceremony. Pirate’s interest in True Detective, House of Cards, Homeland and The Newsroom also spiked at least 340% the day after the Emmys. These peaks are unusual according to CEG TEK, who note of the 47 of the 50 nominated shows they monitored saw an increase in sharing activity. “Typically, piracy peaks on weekends, but of the 50 shows we monitored, 47 were pirated more as a result of the Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast,†CEG TEK CTO Jon Nicolini says. “Clearly, the prestige of the Emmys is alive and well,†he adds. While an Emmy award is certainly a big win, some people in the TV industry believe that being the most pirated TV-show may do even more to boost a show’s profile. Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, previously said that Game of Thrones piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company and that receiving the title of “most pirated†show was “better than an Emmy.†So that’s a double score for the Emmy winners then. http://torrentfreak.com/breaking-bad-piracy-surges-emmy-win-research-finds-140903/
  7. Hollywood has helped to get The Pirate Bay blocked in many countries, but not on its home turf. There are now various signs that this may change in the near future. Among other things, the MPAA has conducted internal research to show that site blocking is rather effective. Website blocking has become one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries in recent years. The UK is a leader on this front, with the High Court ordering local ISPs to block access to dozens of popular file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents. Not everyone is equally excited about these measures and researchers have called their effectiveness into question. This prompted a Dutch court to lift The Pirate Bay blockade a few months ago. The MPAA, however, hopes to change the tide and prove these researchers wrong. Earlier today Hollywood’s anti-piracy wish list was revealed through a leaked draft various copyright groups plan to submit to the Australian Government. Buried deep in the report is a rather intriguing statement that refers to internal MPAA research regarding website blockades. “Recent research of the effectiveness of site blocking orders in the UK found that visits to infringing sites blocked declined by more than 90% in total during the measurement period or by 74.5% when proxy sites are included,†it reads. In other words, MPAA’s own data shows that website blockades do help to deter piracy. Without further details on the methodology it’s hard to evaluate the findings, other than to say that they conflict with previous results. But there is perhaps an even more interesting angle to the passage than the results themselves. Why would the MPAA take an interest in the UK blockades when Hollywood has its own anti-piracy outfit (FACT) there? Could it be that the MPAA is planning to push for website blockades in the United States? This is not the first sign to point in that direction. Two months ago MPAA boss Chris Dodd said that ISP blockades are one of the most effective anti-tools available. Combine the above with the fact that the United States is by far the biggest traffic source for The Pirate Bay, and slowly the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. It seems only a matter of time before the MPAA makes a move towards website blocking in the United States. Whether that’s through a voluntary agreement or via the courts, something is bound to happen. http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-research-blocking-the-pirate-bay-works-so-140828/
  8. New research reveals that BitTorrent swarms can be slowed down significantly by malicious peers. Depending on the number of seeders and the clients they use, download rates can be decreased by 1000%. The attacks are possible through an exploit of the BitTorrent protocol for which the researchers present a fix. BitTorrent is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to share large files over the Internet. The popular file-sharing protocol is used by dozens of millions of people every day and accounts for a substantial amount of total Internet traffic. This popularity makes BitTorrent an interesting target for attacks, which various anti-piracy companies have shown in the past. One of these possible attacks was recently unveiled by Florian Adamsky, researcher at the City University London. In an article published in “Computers & Security†Adamsky and his colleagues reveal an exploit which allows attackers to get a higher download rate from seeders than other people. In technical terms, the exploit misuses BitTorrent’s choking mechanism of clients that use the “Allowed Fast†extension. Attackers can use this to keep a permanent connection with seeders, requesting the same pieces over and over. The vulnerability was extensively tested in swarms of various sizes and the researchers found that three malicious peers can already slow download times up to 414.99%. When the number of attackers is greater compared to the number of seeders, the worse the effect becomes. The impact of the attack further depends on the download clients being used by the seeders in the swarm. The mainline BitTorrent clients and uTorrent are not vulnerable for example, while Vuze, Transmission and Libtorrent-based clients are. TorrentFreak spoke with Adamsky who predicts that similar results are possible in real swarms. Even very large swarms of more than 1,000 seeders could be affected through a botnet, although it’s hard to predict the precise impact. “If an attacker uses a botnet to attack the swarm, I think it would be possible to increase the average download time of all peers [of swarms with 1,000 seeders] up to three times,†Adamsky tells us. “If most of the clients would have a vulnerable client like Vuze or Transmission it would be possible to increase the average download time up ten times,†he adds. In their paper the researchers suggest a relatively easy fix to the problem, through an update of the “Allowed Fast†extension. In addition, they also propose a new seeding algorithm that is less prone to these and other bandwidth attacks. http://torrentfreak.com/attackers-can-steal-bandwidth-bittorrent-users-research-finds-140819/
  9. New research by economist Koleman Strumpf shows that there is no significant effect of movie piracy on box office revenues. This conclusion is based on data from 150 blockbuster movies that were released over a period of six years, using the popular Hollywood exchange as an indication for the revenue impact. Research into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, often with equally mixed results. Often the main question is whether piracy is hurting sales. A new study conducted by economist Koleman Strumpf is one of the most comprehensive on the subject so far. Drawing on data from a popular BitTorrent tracker and revenue projections from the Hollywood Stock Exchange he researches how the release of a pirated movie affects expected box office income. The research covers 150 of the most popular films that were released over a period of seven years, and the findings reveal that the release of pirated films on file-sharing sites doesn’t directly hurt box office revenue. “There is no evidence in my empirical results of file-sharing having a significant impact on theatrical revenue,†Strumpf tells TorrentFreak in a comment. “My best guess estimate is that file sharing reduced the first month box office by $200 million over 2003-2009, which is only three tenths of a percent of what movies actually earned. I am unable to reject the hypothesis that there is no impact at all of file-sharing on revenues.†So while there is a small negative effect, this is limited to one tenth of a percent and not statistically significant. Interestingly, the data also reveals that movie leaks shortly before the premiere have a small positive impact on expected revenues. This suggests that file-sharing may serve as a form of promotion. “One consistent result is that file-sharing arrivals shortly before the theatrical opening have a modest positive effect on box office revenue. One explanation is that such releases create greater awareness of the film. This is also the period of heaviest advertising,†Strumpf notes. One of the advantages of this study compared to previous research is that it measures the direct effect of a movie leak on projected box office revenues. Previous studies mostly compared early versus late leaks, which is less accurate and may be influenced by other factors. “For example, suppose studios added extra security to big budget movies which then have a delayed arrival to file-sharing networks. Then even if file-sharing has no impact at all, one would find that delayed arrival on file-sharing leads to higher revenues,†Strumpf tells us. Another upside of the research lies in the statistical precision. The data includes thousands of daily observations and relatively precise estimates, something lacking in most previous studies. The downside, on the other hand, is that the expected box office impact is estimated from the Hollywood Stock Exchange. While this has shown to be a good predictor for actual revenues, it’s not a direct measurement. In any case, the paper suggests that file-sharing might not be the biggest threat the movie industry is facing. Even if the negative effects were twice as big as the data suggests, it would still be less than the $500 million Hollywood spent on the MPAA’s anti-piracy efforts during the same period. http://torrentfreak.com/filesharing-doesnt-hurt-box-office-revenue-research-finds-140715/
  10. The MPAA is inviting academics to pitch research proposals that aim to provide insight into the copyright challenges faced by the movie industry in the digital age. Researchers are being offered a $20,000 grant for projects that address various piracy related topics, including the impact of copyright law and the effectiveness of DMCA takedown notices. Late last year a study from European researchers revealed that the Megaupload shutdown had anegative effect on the box office revenues of smaller films. The researchers suggested that the decrease in sales may be the result of a drop in word-of-mouth promotion from pirates, which affects smaller movies more since they have less advertising budget. The MPAA wasn’t happy with the media coverage the study generated and went on the defensive citing two Carnegie Mellon University studies to show that piracy harms sales. Interestingly, it failed to disclose that those findings came from research that was supported by a $100,000 grant from the MPAA. While we trust that the research is solid, the above shows that academic research plays an important role in the MPAA’s lobbying efforts. For this reason, the Hollywood group has recently started a grants program, hoping to enlist more academics to conduct copyright-related research. The MPAA is now accepting research proposals on a series of predefined topics. They include the impact of copyright law on innovation and the effectiveness of DMCA takedown notices. The best applications will be awarded a $20,000 grant. “We want to enlist the help of academics from around the world to provide new insight on a range of issues facing the content industry in the digital age,†says MPAA CEO and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd. According to the MPAA boss, academic researchers can contribute to understanding the changes the industry faces by providing unbiased insights. “We need more and better research regarding the evolving role of copyright in society. The academic community can provide unbiased observations, data analysis, historical context and important revelations about how these changes are impacting the film industry and other IP-reliant sectors,†Dodd notes. The MPAA clearly sees academic research as an important tool in their efforts to ensure that copyright protections remain in place, or are strengthened if needed. This outreach to academics may in part be fueled by what their ‘opponents’ are doing. Google, for example, is heavily supporting academic research on copyright-related projects in part to further their own interests. Both sides clearly steer researchers by giving them precise directions on the grounds they want covered. It’s now up to the academics to make sure that they don’t become pawns in a much bigger fight, and that their research is conducted and results presented in an objective manner.
  11. New research from Tennessee Tech University shows that certain forms of online piracy are linked to Internet addiction related problems. In addition, the research shows that high school students who pirate are more likely to have deviant or criminal friends. Over the past decade a lot of research has looked at the effects of online piracy, particularly on the revenues of various entertainment industries. Increasingly researchers are also examining the sociological links, causes and effects of copyright infringement. A new study conducted by Tennessee Tech University’s Jordana Navarro is a good example. With a large survey Navarro and her colleagues investigated the link between piracy, internet addiction and deviant tendencies. The results were published in an articletitled “Addicted to pillaging in cyberspace: Investigating the role of internet addiction in digital piracy,†which appears in the latest issue of the Computers and Human Behavior journal. The researchers conducted a large-scale survey among 1,617 students from 9th through 12th grade. The participants were asked a wide range of questions, covering their piracy habits, as well as scales to measure Internet addiction and association with deviant friends. The findings on the piracy side are comparable to many previous studies and show that movie piracy is most prevalent. Nearly 30% of the students admitted to pirating movies, and this percentage went down to 15% and 13% for music and software piracy respectively. One of the more interesting findings is the link between piracy and Internet addiction. Here, the researchers found that students who have more internet addiction related issues are more likely to pirate software. “Based on the results of the study, we can determine that high school students who have Internet-related problems due to addiction are more likely to commit a specific form of piracy involving the illegal downloading of software,†the researchers write. The same group of software pirates were also more likely to hang out with deviant friends. This measure includes friends who pirate, those who threaten others with violence online, those who send nude pictures, and those who have used another person’s credit card or ID without permission. “Not surprisingly, youth who committed this form of piracy were also more likely to have deviant peers. In other words, their behaviors were influenced by friends who committed similar or other deviant acts,†the researchers conclude. Interestingly, the link between Internet addiction and copyright infringement was only found for software piracy. High school students who pirated movies and music were not more likely to have these type of problems. They were, however, more likely to associate with deviant or criminal friends. “The remaining two forms of piracy for juveniles are not predicted by Internet addiction based on our findings. However, the results did support past findings that deviant peer association and piracy behaviors are significant related,†the researchers write. According to the researchers the results are a good first step in identifying how various problems and deviant behaviors are linked, which could be helpful to shape future educational efforts. Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t offer any explanations for the differences in the link between Internet addiction and various types of piracy. One likely explanation is that those who show more signs of Internet addiction simply spend more time on the computer, and are therefore more interested in software piracy and software in general. For now, it appears that some more follow-up research is needed before it’s warranted to send the first batch of kids to piracy rehab.
  12. YouTube Hurts Music Album Sales, Research Finds The music industry has often cited piracy as the main reason for the decline in music sales over the past decade, but new research suggests that YouTube may have played a role as well. Based on Warner Music's YouTube blackout, researchers conclude that the video streaming portal cost the label up to $40 million in lost album sales per year. In recent years many academics have researched the link between Internet piracy and the revenues of the major music labels, with varying results. Some have concluded that there is no adverse impact of piracy on sales, others argue that there’s a moderate negative relation. While the music industry and many researchers seek answers in the piracy realm, other drastic changes are too often ignored. The availability of free on-demand music through legal services such as YouTube for example. Researchers from Fairfield University and the University of Colorado have started to fill this gap with a new study. In their working paper the researchers examine the effect of Warner Music’s 2009 YouTube blackout on the record label’s album sales. At the time, Warner pulled all their music from the video hosting service due to a licensing dispute. The researchers use this event to compare the sales of Warner’s artists listed in the Billboard Album 200, to those from labels that still had their videos on YouTube. The results are intriguing, to say the least. After controlling for several variables, such as music genre and album specific characteristics, they found that Warner’s top artists sold many more albums during the blackout. “We showed that the removal of content from YouTube had a causal impact on album sales by upwards of on average 10,000 units per week for top albums,†the paper reads. According to the researchers, these results indicate that YouTube doesn’t always serve as a promotional tool as many claim, certainly not for the top artists. “While a great deal has been said about the potential role of these service in promoting and discovering new artists and music, our results cast some doubt on this widely believed notion, at least with regards to top selling albums [...], they write. The researchers estimate that for the top albums the total in lost sales because of YouTube equals roughly $1 million per year. This is a significant percentage of the label’s total revenue. It is hard to say, however, that YouTube is hurting overall revenue, as the advertising revenue it receives from Google also brings in a significant sum of money. The results, which are largely driven by the top selling albums, suggest that there is no promotional effect of YouTube on album sales. In addition, there is no effect on Google searches for the artists in question either. In other words, YouTube doesn’t mainly hurt album sales. “Our findings suggest that sales displacement effect can be real without a promotional effect. That is, the people listening on YouTube appear to be, to some extent people who would know about this album anyway, but may not buy it because of YouTube,†the researchers conclude. The findings are interesting for a variety of reasons. Although they don’t prove that YouTube costs the music industry more than it brings in, it clearly shows that there are more factors that can explain people’s shift in music buying habits than piracy alone.